The latest studies from ABI Research and Cisco have warned that unless more bandwidth is added the Internet could get a lot slower as demand begins to outmatch network growth:
Stan Schatt, research director at ABI, said: "Uploading bandwidth is going to have to increase, and the cable providers are going to get killed on bandwidth as HD programming becomes more commonplace."
Cisco notes that video websites, such as YouTube, now transmit more data per month than the entire amount of traffic sent over the Internet in 2000. By comparison most modern usage is occupied by P2P File Sharing networks (one third), with general video streaming and downloads set to account for 30% of consumer traffic during 2011 (currently 9%).
Typically some reports have claimed in their titles that the outcome of this would be a "crash" but that's doubtful, the Internet is more resilient than it's often given credit for. In reality it might get slower but current network improvements suggest, at least in the UK, that it probably won't become an immediate problem.
However there is the small issue of localised traffic / broadband congestion among UK ISP's to consider too, which is very much a talking point right now as anybody reading last weeks news could attest (BBC iPlayer etc.).
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